Response to interview published in The Jakarta Post

I refer to the interview published in The Jakarta Post on July 31, titled
“Morocco to imitate RI to resolve W. Sahara issue”. It was one-sided and unbalanced. There was no reaction from Polisario, as there was in the article published June 30, “Saharan movement seeks RI’s help in quest for independence”, which outlined the position of both sides.

The comparison by Omar Hilale, secretary-general of the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, between Aceh and Western Sahara is quite misleading and dangerous. All of his arguments are readily refutable. Moreover, the politics behind his comments were not put in context.

For instance, there are no similarities between Aceh and Western Sahara or between GAM and Polisario.

In order to create confusion and attract support for its colonial ambitions, Morocco is using very sensitive internal Indonesian issues for its own political gain. I hope that the Indonesian public and government will not be taken in by such tricks and sinister attempts.

Western Sahara has been on the UN list as a Non-Self-Governing Territory since 1963 and according to the UN it is entitled to a process of decolonization.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) investigated Moroccan and Mauritanian claims and reaffirmed on October 15, 1975, that it did not find any “territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity”.

And that “the court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of resolution 1514 (XV) in the Decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory” (ICJ Rep. 1975 12 para 162).

No country or international organization has recognized Moroccan occupation or sovereignty over Western Sahara. Whereas the Saharawi republic declared in 1976 by the Saharawi people is recognized by many countries worldwide and is a fully fledged member of the African Union.

After both Morocco and Polisario agreed to a peace plan based on the organization of a free and fair referendum and following the declaration of a cease-fire in 1991, the UN and the African Union sent a mission (MINURSO) to organize the referendum of self-determination but that mission has so far failed due to Moroccan obstructions.

Chief Representative of Polisario to Australia and New Zealand